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Vacheron Constantin Les Cabinotiers – Récits de Voyages, Part 2

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Vacheron Constantin presented novelties under the motto ‘A watchmaking odyssey honouring arts and cultures of the world’. The new Les Cabinotiers pieces combine the excellence and dedication of master watchmakers and great artisans. 

Discover the background of the Récits de Voyages: Les Cabinotiers collection and Part 1 here.

Since very early on in its history, Vacheron Constantin has taken an interest in different markets and the cultural motifs in those countries. The latest imaginary journey of the Maison starts in the Middle East. Christian Selmoni, Vacheron Constantin Style & Heritage Director points out – ‘… Vacheron Constantin’s heritage collection also contains numerous examples of objects inspired by Moorish art, inseparable from arabesques and floral decoration. As Vacheron Constantin established trade relations with countries to the east of the Mediterranean basin as early as the 1810s, pocket watches from the early 19th century notably feature finely chased arabesque ornamentation, sometimes surrounded by rows of pearls or stones. … Since the earliest exchanges with the region, Islamic architecture and richly illuminated Arabic manuscripts have been a favourite source of inspiration for the Manufacture’s artisans.’

Les Cabinotiers Minute Repeater Tourbillon Tribute to arabesque

The 44mm ’Les Cabinotiers Minute Repeater Tourbillon Tribute to arabesque’ is devoted to the architectural and visual wealth of the Muslim world, specifically to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, built between 1995 and 2007. 

The dial is inspired by the mashrabiya, an element of traditional Arabic architecture created with carved wood latticework. It serves not only cultural and visual purposes but also as protection against the high heat and intense sunlight of middle eastern climates. 

The engraving work on the ‘Les Cabinotiers Minute Repeater Tourbillon Tribute to arabesque’ took three months and required extremely meticulous care in making certain tenth-of-a-millimetre incisions. The engraver has reproduced the organic volutes using line engraving on the various case parts, while opting for a more geometrical pattern on the flange. 

The result combines different techniques, like line engraving, intaglio engraving technique or bas-relief. 

Les Cabinotiers Minute Repeater Tourbillon Tribute to Art Deco style

The Art Deco architecture flourished in New York City during the 1920s and 1930s, resulting buildings like the Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center, Radio City Music Hall or the Empire State Building. Vacheron Constantin’s presence was already well established in America by the early 20th century. The Maison celebrates the emblematic features of the Manhattan skyline with the other unique Les Cabinotiers Minute Repeater Tourbillon in a fully engraved 18k 5N pink gold case. 

For the first time, Vacheron Constantin has produced a dial using wood marquetry based on the champlevé enamelling technique. The dial features a radiating motif reminiscent of the interior decorations typical of the Art Deco period, framing beautifully the tourbillon at 6 o’clock. The pattern consists of 110 small wood veneers, in pearwood and tulipwood coloured to black and blue, framed by the intricate metalwork. 

Emblematic of the Maison’s technical mastery, these two single-piece editions are powered by in-house Calibre 2755 TMR with a minute repeater and tourbillon regulator.

Les Cabinotiers Malte Tourbillon – Tribute to Haussmannian style

The single-piece edition ‘Les Cabinotiers Malte Tourbillon – Tribute to Haussmannian style’ echoes the major urban planning projects carried out in the City of Light by Baron Haussmann in the mid-19th century. Georges Eugène Haussmann (1809-1891) was a French noble and administrator responsible for the transformation of Paris and head of its urban renewal program under Napoleon III. The nonstop construction between 1853 and 1870 resulted buildings, street plans and distinctive appearance of the centre of Paris which are still emblematic today. 

Europe, and particularly Paris has always been an important territory for Vacheron Constantin, not only because of its clientele but also because of the professional relationships that could be forged there. François Constantin (1788-1854) established commercial relations with many cities including Paris. Later in 1880 an encounter with Ferdinand Verger sealed an enduring partnership in the French capital. 

The exceptional engraving on this novelty is inspired by the Haussmannian style – the ornamentation and motifs of the buildings, its monuments, its facades and door-knockers as well as its parks.  

It has a 18k pink gold, ‘barrel’ shape case, typical of the Malte collection. The shape was first introduced in 1912 and was redesigned a century later. The entire case and movement have been expertly engraved. The bezel, case back and lugs feature gadrooned decoration, while the case middle is finely sculpted with a lion’s head and frieze. As a symbol of power and majesty, lion is among the frequent patterns of Paris and also on the Haussmanian buildings. 

As the Maison explains – ‘After tracing the decor with a dedicated scriber, the engraver sets about creating a champlevé (raised field) by removing the material around the motifs, of which the volumes are created using a burin. The result is a meticulously accurate depth effect – corresponding to 4/10ths of a millimetre for the lion and 2/10ths for its frieze – that still requires polishing.’

A fully openworked and engraved ultra-thin movement with tourbillon, the Calibre 2790 SQ sits inside the timepiece. The mainplate and bridges of the entirely skeletonised movement are also adorned with motifs recalling the structure of the Eiffel Tower. 

Source: press release. Photo credits: Vacheron Constantin. Loupiosity.com
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